HERO Sports welcomes you to "Three-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs, with three teams being released each day from June 17 to July 28. Then, we'll preview all 13 conferences from August 1-4. Today, we present … Grambling State.
We'll leave no stone left unturned when it comes to giving the FCS diehards all they could ask for this offseason. Learn about every program in the country, with HERO Sports.
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The SWAC (GSU was Tied 2nd in West in 2018)
COACH: Broderick Fobbs – At School: 6th year (45-16 record), Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2017 (Celebration Bowl runners up to North Carolina A&T)
2018 OFFENSE: 29.3 ppg. (48th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 25.2 ppg. (38th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Nov. 30 – vs. Southern U. (in New Orleans) – The Bayou Classic is one of the best matchups in all of FCS football, and seems to usually have an effect on the SWAC championship picture too, as both programs are historically stout. There's a reason NBC is broadcasting this one.
SUM IT UP: With 69 letter winners back on the roster, as well as 15 starters, this should be a competitive Grambling team once again. The program won 23 games and two SWAC titles from 2016-17, and there are still a bunch of talented players left from those teams. Anybody who follows FCS and HBCU football knows all about the Grambling tradition, the aura of coaching legend Eddie Robinson, and all that comes with being a #GramFan.
The offense looked good in the spring game, especially in the run game, so that's something to build off. Quarterback Geremy Hickbottom, the heir to former star Devante Kincade, was impressive last year, accounting for nearly 2,500 yards of offense and 24 touchdowns — and he has a lot of talent back with the Tigers. He has three key receivers returning and in general, this offense could take it up a notch this year with eight starters returning to the unit.
This defense has a personality, and two All-SWAC performers return to the lineup for Grambling as cornerstones. The Tigers were one of the top units in the country when it came to turnover margin, and they were also stingy on third-down defense (28th in the nation at 33 percent). The red zone defense was also a big strength last year, rating 9th in the country. If there is something this program must improve on, it is how often it is penalized. The Tigers really hurt themselves in that department in 2018, losing 100 yards a game to it.
OUR TAKE: Grambling opens the season with two FBS opponents (Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech). That's a tough way to kick things off. After that, its nine straight games against SWAC opponents, and aside from what appears to be a monster Alcorn State team, Grambling should be able to hang with just about everybody else in the league. We think Grambling bumps up the win total to the seven-win range this time around.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./DB Joseph McWilliams (1st Team All SWAC – 4 INTs, 432 tackles, 7 PBUs, 3 blocked kicks)
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./DL Anfernee Mullins (2nd Team All SWAC – 10 TFLs, 5 sacks, 25 tackles, 6 hurries); Jr./QB Geremy Hickbottom (1,945 yards passing, 16 TDs; 500 yards rushing, 8 TDs); Sr./WR DeVante Davis (414 yards receiving, 3 TDs); Sr./LB DeAndre Hogues (56 tackles, 12 TFLs, 5 hurries — leading returning tackler); Soph./OL Demontrey Jacobs (started every game); Soph./DB Devanir Martin (41 tackles, 2 INTs); Sr./WR Quentin Guice (357 yards receiving, 3 TDs).
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./WR Kash Foley (HERO Sports No. 38 ranked signee in the FCS — Kansas and Kentucky offers reported, 11 FBS offers total).
THE QUOTE: "Offensively it was good to see us move the football. Our running backs had a great day and I thought we had some good quarterback play as well. The offensive line really helped put together multiple long scoring drives. On the defensive side, our defensive backs were very active with a bunch of pass breakups and (Anfernee) Mullins was extremely active on the defensive line." — Head Coach Broderick Fobbs said after the spring game
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Grambling State Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The SWAC
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast